A reader asked me for advice to share with a yoga student on shin splints. Here, my yoga books are less germane and The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery is more useful. Shin splints usually result from an imbalance between work and rest—too much mileage, too soon, and sometimes on too hard a surface.
Things to check when shin splints arise:
As a work/rest imbalance, shin splints should encourage the runner to lay off and focus on recovery. Icing can help, too.
There are some nice stretches for the shins. Easiest is simply kneeling. If kneeling is hard on the outside of the knees, lay a blanket under your shins. If it’s hard on the inside of the knees, lay a blanket between your hamstrings and calves, to decrease the compression at the knee.
A favorite of mine is half kneeling, half squatting, illustrated on page 130 of The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga. From kneeling, take your right foot alongside your left knee. This stretches the lower leg on the right while releasing the shin on the left. For even more of a stretch, push your hands into the floor and lift the left knee—you’ll feel it in the left ankle and shin.
There’s a whole chapter on the lower leg in my next book, which will be out in spring 2012. (I should be able to reveal its title pretty soon!)
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I have a healthy stack of questions building up in my e-mail inbox, things readers and athletes have asked me. […]